#SOL18: March 15


Not moving.


Reading is a struggle.


Beginning to avoid reading.


Now hates reading.

What do we do as reading coaches when students get stuck? 

What do we prioritize? 

What are our go to resources? 


Earlier this week, I asked . . . 

How do you make decisions about changing instruction?  Or Practice?  Or Allocation of Time? in the writing context.  Think about that post. link

I’m a process person so in reading my first step is to consult the research.  If students are stuck, I’m going back to Richard Allington’s 6 Ts of Effective Reading Instruction.

  1. Time
  2. Texts
  3. Teaching
  4. Talk
  5. Tasks
  6. Testing

When a student is struggling, what’s our first instinct?  Often it seems like we want to “double down” and do “more.”  But again, how do we prioritize and make sure that we double down and do more of the RIGHT stuff?

After participating in a brilliant #TCRWP Twitter chat last night led by Staff Developers, Shana Frazin, Marie Mounteer, and Cheney Munson, here’s what I believe.

Here’s where I will begin  . . .

  1. Know all the students and build a relationship with each and every one . . . yes, even the prickly one(s).   That means that I can answer these questions about barriers in order to operate from a “strengths-basis” as much as possible.

Screenshot 2018-03-14 at 8.47.06 PM.png

2. I will self assess my balance of Allington’s 6 T’s with what I know about the student.  Everything is connected and interrelated.  What are my “absolute musts” for reading instruction every day?  Always read alouds.  Always workshop time. More time, but less texts = counterproductive.  More Talk by Teachers  = Less time for reading  which is also counterproductive.  So I might consider how some of these questions would add to my knowledge base about what I know about reading instruction, practice, and the curriculum for this particular striving student.

Screenshot 2018-03-14 at 9.41.42 PM

3. I will ask for help.  I will continue to think about the whole child but will not be so proud that I can’t ask for help or so “unaware of the urgency (“Hello, it’s February and Susie is on a E and her goal is J, but no worries.”)  I will find my tribe that I can safely ask:  “Hey, what should I do when I have a student who does this, this, and this, but struggles with __, __, and __?”

Every day that Susie feels like she is is failing is a day too many!

4. But I will ALWAYS remember that my goal is to ensure that students can read, will read, and above all else, LOVE to read!  So remembering that Susie will be a great reader is critical!  I will not advocate for a program, a basal, a Pinterest or TpT resource.  I will begin with the child, the child’s family, and the community of the classroom. (The WHY which has to be behind every decision.)

How does this match your thinking? 

Where do you start when a student is stuck? 

What are your priorities?

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily forum each March. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

Marie Mountneer’s storify of the #TCRWP chat here

During the chat Shana Frazin posted this chart of Harvey and Ward’s from Striving to Thriving.  What a great tool to think about during text selection for our striving students!

Screenshot 2018-03-15 at 9.46.59 AM.png

14 responses

  1. Your piece has heart and also resources!
    I transitioned from being a first grade teacher (often experiencing this) to a science teacher. Reading this makes me wish I was still grappling with these problems. though all the advice on understanding the child applies to us all.

    1. Fran, Thanks so much! And yes, Allington’s resources could apply to science as we think about providing more reading time across the day. What if students could read from 5-10 minutes during science? What if an entire hour could be found within the course of a week for more practice?

  2. Sounds like an excellent Twitter chat and your take aways are spot on! Believing in our students is so important. Naming things they are already doing, helping them see what is working, that is something I am doing regularly this year! You are a reader because look here at what you are doing well!

  3. Thank you for this powerful reminder of the barriers to learning. There is something about a list of questions that stops us in our tracks. What a privilege it is for us have a chance to contemplate these questions.

    1. You are welcome, Beth. It’s complicated but I believe one of the first steps has to be the quick check of the current “what do I think is happening as well as the what is happening?” as we work with our precious students!

  4. I always love the slices you share that speak directly to me! We just got an email reminder to administer a new F and P to our students who are stuck and/or below level. Lots to consider here.

    1. Erika,
      So much to learn from your F and P for you students who are stuck. The “deciding what to do” is the important part. So glad this is already a part of your plan. “Time waits for no one” and we do need to be planful! ❤

  5. I need to sit down and think deeply about a few of my students before March Break ends on Monday. I like the chart you included – very focused questions. I have a few that just aren’t moving along and I need to get very serious about them.

    1. Lisa,
      so much benefit from some focused reflection. What can the student do? What should be the next goal?

  6. I am amazed at some teachers I know who refuse to ask for help because they see it as a reflection on them that they are failures. Our first responsibility is to the student and what best fist his/her needs. The chart you included would be a handy reference tool for teachers to laminate, keep on their desk, and refer to as the need arises.

    1. Well, I wouldn’t call it that permanent that I would laminate but I could see putting it into a plastic sleeve. So much to work on. The first step has to be “Stop and think” before going off on a bizarre tangent! Or buying something! ISH!

  7. Samantha Marquardt | Reply

    I am thankful for these reminders. I appreciate the tool you shared and the reminders you give. This was just what I needed to read today!

    1. I’m so glad that you found this helpful, Samantha. I know it will need more work but it’s a solid start! 🙂

  8. […] #SOL18:  March 15 – Barriers to Learning, Allington’s Six T’s, Student          […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

My Zorro Circle

it is what it is

Steph Scrap Quilts

"Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads..."


A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

Tim's Teaching Thoughts

Ideas and Reflections on Teaching

Hands Down, Speak Out

Listening and Talking Across Literacy and Math

Teachers | Books | Readers

Literacy Leaders Connecting Students and Books

Dr. Carla Michelle Brown * Speaker * author * Educator

We have the perfect words. Write when you need them. www.carlambrown.com

Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.


Seeking Ways to Grow Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers & Writers

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers


adventures in multiple tenses

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together


Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

%d bloggers like this: